Phoebe stresses importance of mammograms ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the CDC.
Dr. Shailaja Sappati, medical director for Carlton Breast Center at Phoebe, said COVID-19 resulted in less people scheduling their annual exams.
Doctors said it’s important to start scheduling appointments again because catching possible breast cancer sooner will help with treatment.
“If you’re seeing something like a lump that has not gone away for two weeks, please don’t wait to call your provider. Call as soon as possible,” said Sappati.
Sappati said the average age to start scheduling annual screenings is 40. However, if you notice something from a self-exam, no matter your age, you should make an appointment.
“You get to know your breast (and) if you notice some area which is not feeling right or a lump, then that would be the time to bring it to your doctor’s attention,” said Sappati.
Scheduling annual exams and seeking medical attention when you find something abnormal could make the difference in treatment.
“Studies have shown that mammography is a very safe and effective tool. We do the latest, which is the 3D mammogram, an excellent tool for detecting very early cancers,” said Sappati.
Sappati said some side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine have shown up during screening.
If you get the vaccine before your exam Sappati said to tell the technologist.
“Some people have reported swelling of lymph nodes, and these can be visible on the mammogram. We might say to the doctor, ‘I think this is related to COVID, maybe we can wait three to six months and then check them out,’” said Dr. Sappati.
Phoebe will offer 100 free, 3D Mammograms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
They said it’s an initiative to give those who are uninsured and underinsured an opportunity to be screened for cancer.
Director of Quailty for the oncologist service line Ursula Mathis said to qualify, you must be underinsured or uninsured, at least 40 or older, have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months and in Phoebe’s service area.
“It’s a very successful program. Usually, we are able to get these young ladies in these women of all ages to start from ages 40 and up to be screened. We find cancers earlier, then it’s easier to treat them. They have a better prognosis in the end,” said Mathis.
They normally offer this program during October and Mother’s Day.
They’re scheduling appointments now that will start in October.
To schedule one of those appointments, call (229) 312-4800.
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